Synthetic diamonds lack sparkle

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 12:00am

Survey by the world's No1 supplier finds women still prefer the real thing

Diamond Trading Co (DTC), the world's largest diamond supplier, says the cheaper synthetic version has had little impact on its sales as demand for the real thing remains strong.

'It is two separate markets,' said Lavin Lam, a sales and marketing business director at DTC Asia Pacific.

Synthetic diamonds, which made their debut in Hong Kong in December last year, are created in the laboratory in a few days and have the same physical and optical properties as a natural diamond.

But their cheaper price - about 5 per cent to 25 per cent lower than a natural diamond - has not lured many buyers.

According to a survey by the DTC, about 94 per cent of women said they would still buy natural diamonds.

Ms Lam said DTC's turnover reached US$5.7 billion last year, up 3 per cent from 2003.

China and India are the two-fastest growing markets in Asia, she said, and this year DTC will spend US$200 million on global marketing to support diamond jewellery growth.

DTC, a member of the DeBeers Group, accounted for about 60 per cent of uncut diamond sales by value worldwide, Ms Lam said.

She was speaking at the launch of DTC's diamond library, a web-based research tool designed exclusively for the media.

Among other information, it contains details of jewellery worn by movie stars.